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Procedures governing medication, treatment, psychosurgery and shock therapy - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-543

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Patients must provide informed consent prior to receiving medication to treat their psychiatric disabilities.

Patients must give their informed consent before submitting to a medical or surgical procedure.  A patient’s conservator may consent to medical or surgical procedures if the patient has been legally declared as unable to care for themselves. Physicians may perform a procedure without a patient’s consent if the patient is in a critical condition and obtaining consent would cause harm.

Patients must give their informed consent prior to undergoing shock therapy or psychosurgery. Consent for such treatment lasts for a maximum of 30 days and the patient may revoke the consent at will. If the head of the hospital and two qualified physicians determine that the patient lacks the capacity to give informed consent, the Probate Court may order shock therapy upon finding that a less intrusive treatment is unavailable. Probate Court authorization may last for a maximum of 45 days.

Facilities must establish procedures to guide involuntary medication decisions. These procedures must require: (1) a person not employed by the facility makes the decision; (2) that the patient receive notice of advocacy services; (3) that notice of a “determination of the necessity for involuntary treatment” be given to a patient and their advocate at least 48 hours before the proceeding; (4) that a patient has a right to representation during such proceeding: (5) the opportunity during the proceeding to question the physicians that determined the patient’s lack of capacity; and (6) that a decision be made in writing.

A facility may petition the Probate Court to appoint a conservator for a patient that the head of the hospital and two qualified physicians have determined lacks capacity to consent to medication or, if the patient has a conservator, petition the Probate Court to expand the conservator’s authority to include medication decisions. Once appointed, a conservator must decide whether to consent after examining the patient’s “written record,” meeting with the patient and physician, and considering the patient’s preferences, religious beliefs, and medication side effects.

A facility may petition the Probate Court to authorize the administration of medication if a patient has the capacity to consent to medication, refuses to issue such consent, and, while unmedicated, poses a threat to themselves or others. 

Current as of June 2015